Logos Distribution Philosophy
Decades ago, Logos confronted the question of whether or not we would sell books we didn’t personally agree with. We decided that we would; we believed that our users were interested in studying multiple sides of disputed issues, and that they could evaluate each book, author, and publisher on their public statements and reputation.
We discovered there were theological disagreements amongst the three company founders: to sell only what all three founders could recommend without reservation would be to offer few resources at all.
In the years that followed, the Logos Bible Study App grew from a small tool with a few Bible translations into a digital library of wide scope, supported by an equally large bookstore. And we have received complaints about a large number of books we’ve made available—up to and including the English dictionary.
All of our customers who have objected to content Logos sells have been sincere, have been passionate about God’s Word and his truth, and have wanted only to keep others from inducement to error.
While we respect their perspective very much, we are not a church; we’re a technology company and bookstore. We create, sell, and support a library with a special focus on Bible study, along with numerous powerful digital tools to do that study. We aspire to offer the full catalog of content from all relevant Christian publishers—even content some may consider sensitive and/or inappropriate. A library is a useful thing, and it is useful even when it contains error, heresy, and nonsense. Students and teachers alike need access to resources to learn and grow, to be encouraged, challenged, corrected, and even to refute error.
There is room for a church on every corner; there is room for a book to be published expounding on each theological distinctive. We as individuals may strive to live and teach without compromise on even the smallest point. A local church can even maintain doctrinal unity. But a library can rarely grow beyond a single book without some compromise, and we’d all find it frustrating if each library (or digital library tool) was restricted to one viewpoint. Logos offers a Bible library. If the book references the Bible, is related to the Bible, talks about the Bible, or is of use to people who study the Bible, it fits in our library.
The Logos Bible Study App started with the King James Bible and a few other titles, including Strong’s Concordance. As of this writing, we offer more than 150,000 titles in our bookstore across more than a dozen languages, reflecting the span of our customers’ interests, views, and locations.
Similar to theological libraries around the world, we offer resources from a variety of historical, cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds and disciplines that reflect breadth and diversity of thought, fostering critical thinking and engagement on many topics.
Generally speaking, the titles we offer on the Logos platform are deemed relevant or helpful to our users, though we make exclusions for books that meet these criteria:
- Erotica or graphic language: We don’t sell content that we determine promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.
- Incitements to violence: We don’t sell resources that incite violence, advocate terrorism, or are used to promote a violent movement.
While we include a broad range of resources on the Logos platform, we do not sell books we deem vile or cruel unless it has historical significance (such as Mein Kampf). Catching every title that does not meet these criteria before being added to the Logos platform would be nearly impossible. We currently vet titles through their BISAC codes, which are assigned to books during the publication process.
We invite our users to flag any titles that they believe should be reviewed under our content guidelines. Please simply add the book to our feedback site.
Why does the Logos platform have so many different kinds of books?
We aspire to serve all our users’ resource needs through the Logos platform. Many dedicated customers have told us they want to access all their ebooks through their Logos library so they don’t have to jump between ereader platforms. To make this unified ereader library possible, we provide a variety of resources on subjects, themes, issues, and questions customers are studying—no matter how broad in scope.
As a side note, we serve higher education institutions (colleges, seminaries, etc.) as well as individual customers. The schools we work with want broad access to all kinds of ebooks so professors can assign any title and expect it to be accessible to all students, including distance students. Many seminary and university libraries already contain hundreds (if not thousands) of resources that would violate their statement of faith, yet they recognize the need for even non-Christian resources to be available to future pastors and scholars training for ministry (or even for the interested lay person who wants to know more about a given topic).
Does this mean anything can go in a Logos package?
No, Logos packages are still curated; all of the content included in them is relevant to Bible study. Entry-level packages are more tightly curated (Reformed Bronze, for example, is likely to hew more tightly to Reformed books); advanced packages still provide only books that are relevant to Bible study, but the books represent a broader spectrum of theological perspectives (Reformed Portfolio, for example, is likely to include more academic titles from outside the Reformed tradition).
Does Logos edit books after they’re sold?
When a user reports a typo in a resource, we will check to see where the typo originated. We will update errors that result from being imported into the Logos platform. If the error is found in the original, we report the issue to the publisher, and unless it’s an obvious problem (incorrect Bible verse, misspelling, etc.) it is in their hands to correct it. If a publisher releases a new edition of a title (such as a second edition of a commentary), it is sold separately and the existing version will not change, aside from superficial updates.
Isn’t Logos a Christian company?
Logos is a technology company and bookstore that serves churches, pastors, academics, and laity, but Logos is not a church, charity, ministry, or nonprofit. Please see the following two questions for further clarification.
How can I trust Logos?
As an electronic bookseller, Logos does not represent any theological filter (and never has). You should not assume every electronic book we sell represents orthodox Christian belief or any particular understanding of such. What you can be sure of is that the content we sell is labeled with the author, publisher, and other descriptive metadata that will help you identify who is responsible for the content. We trust our users will exercise discernment in their choice of digital content just as they would when walking through a paper library or bookstore. No pastor, editor, technology company, or bookstore can relieve individual Christians of the responsibility to rightly divide the word of truth.
Does this philosophy apply to content published on the Logos blog or by Lexham Press?
Logos is a member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association through our ownership of Lexham Press, and we subscribe to the Statement of Faith of the Association. The content we ourselves publish falls broadly into the category of “Evangelical Christian.” You can read the publishing values for Word by Word, the Logos blog, here. You can learn more about Lexham Press’s editorial standards here. The exception to this rule is our Verbum blog, which features content from a Catholic perspective.